Where to wine and dine in Bordeaux

The City of Wine is understandably one of France’s top destinations. This glorious UNESCO World Heritage city of art, architecture, food and wine has French charm and elegance, as well as a genuinely welcoming ambiance. Here are our top tips for eating and drinking well in the city.

La Cité du Vin museum

Bordeaux is much more than old world wine, wealth, and bourgeoisie architecture. It has a contemporary buzz about it. The bold new ‘La Cité du Vin’ museum and cultural centre, by architects Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières, is a good place to get immersed in the wine culture of Bordeaux – in an accessible and entertaining way. The building itself is remarkable – the architecture evokes the movement of poured wine, as it swirls around the glass. Others see twisted vines, or the movement of the Garonne river.

Marche des Quais, Sunday market

The city’s markets are the place to get a real flavour of Bordeaux and the region. On Sunday head to the on-trend Marche des Quais area on the banks of the Garonne. Browse, shop and eat. How about the famous local oysters for breakfast? If not, then a few rum or vanilla flavoured ‘canelés’ cakes, so evocative of the area.

Le Quatrième Mur

Sight-seeing in Bordeaux will inevitably take you to the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux opera building. Here you’ll find Le Quatrième Mur (The Fourth Wall), a chic restaurant by local chef Philippe Etchebest. This upscale brasserie is the ideal spot for a leisurely lunch – the seasonal menu changes every week. They offer an iPad instead of a printed wine list – a trendy juxtaposition to the grandeur of the restaurant’s historic surroundings.

La Vie en Rose café bistro

For something more informal, the trendy Chartrons district is home to cafés, bistros and brasseries – like the La Vie en Rose; a good choice for Brunch.

La Boca Food Court

This contemporary food court is part of Bordeaux’s new, informal culture towards food and drink. Part of a riverside shopping centre, here you’ll find indie food shops and bars selling local bites, which you can enjoy seated at communal tables inside and out.

Le Saint James Restaurant
For dinner, the Michelin star restaurant at Le Saint James is the place for exquisite Aquitaine flavours, by Chef Nicolas Magie. The unique and rich terroir of France’s south west are his inspiration – and guests enjoy his dishes in the Jean Nouvel architect-designed dining room which maximises views out across the gardens and vineyards to the city skyline beyond. In fact, the restaurant lights are turned off at one point in the evening so you can relish the sparkling lights of that city view!

Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande is Director of Passepartout Homes Ltd. Passepartout Homes Ltd. offers an exclusive portfolio of luxury villa rentals in Italy, France, Greece, Croatia, Thailand and worldwide.

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Comments (10)

  1. Roger says:

    As someone who has a great love of wine I am almost ashamed to say that I have never visited Bordeaux. This post shows me just what I have been missing. It would certainly serve as a very hand guide as to where I should dine when I finally get myself organised and visit this superlative wine region.

    • Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande says:

      I am glad my post inspired you.

    • Pete says:

      I’m almost relieved to read Roger’s comment. Wine has been one of the great passions of my life and I’ve probably spent rather more than is sensible on fine wines. Though many of those wines have given me a great deal of pleasure. I can’t say that I’ve got a “cellar” but I would say that approximately a quarter of my stock of wines are from Bordeaux. Also I’ve visited many vineyards throughout the world but regretfully I have never made it to Bordeaux. One of my 2020 New Year’s resolutions must be to rectify that cardinal sin.

  2. Jeff G says:

    I remember reading about Bordeaux’s wine museum when the investment was being planned. I can’t remember the exact number but I know that it was big enough to make me think that the museum would be something quite special when it opened. Plan to get there soon. This post has just jogged my memory that I should organise it.

  3. Jane says:

    Beautiful presentation on the plates of food. Standards are just so high. I feel under pressure to dish up a work of art even when it’s just a weekday supper.

    • Gary Childerly says:

      I am so relieved to hear that, I thought it was just me being paranoid. Although my wife never says anything about my cooking I get the impression that she is expecting Michelin Star standard presentation.

  4. Lorna says:

    The La Cite du Vin museum is incredible. I’m still trying to work out what the veiling consists of, it’s almost like upside down wine glasses. There’s a greater feel of community and closeness here, compared with the UK. The outdoor market, the communal eating areas inside and outside, all make the experience of food and eating feel that bit more friendly and interactive and sociable.

  5. Steven Ham says:

    I know that oysters for breakfast sounds very decadent and highly luxurious at the Marche de Quais but I think I might wait for lunchtime before enjoying that treat. I’d certainly by tempted by oysters and a crisp dry white wine for lunch overlooking the River Garonne.

    • Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande says:

      I have to agree with you. I am not sure I can digest oysters for breakfast myself. I am more of a croissant and cappuccino type of person!

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